Quebec Competencies Chart - Earth Day: Maps as media

Author: Thierry Plante, Media Education Specialist, MediaSmarts
Level: Grades 4 to 6
Lesson Length: 45 to 90 minutes
Lesson Link:

Description: In this lesson, students are introduced to Earth Day and the theme of “Green Cities”. After listening to a short presentation on the concept of a “green city” and elements that constitute a green city (e.g. renewable energy sources such as solar panels, more energy-efficient buildings, recycling programs, cleaner air and water) students participate in an activity where they count the number of parks on a map of their city or neighbourhood. Maps are then analyzed as a medium as students discuss how they are created, things they can and can’t show, and their effectiveness at communicating environmental information.

Cross-curricular Competencies

Broad Areas of Learning

  • To use information
  • To exercise critical judgement
  • To use creativity
  • To use information and communication technologies (ICT)
  • To cooperate with others
  • To communicate appropriately
  • Media Literacy
  • Environmental Awareness and Consumer Rights and Responsibilities
  • Citizenship and Community Life

This lesson satisfies the following Competencies from the Quebec Education Program:

Geography, History and Citizenship Education

To understand the organization of a society in its territory

  • Establishment of the geographic and historical contexts of the society
  • Making of connections between characteristics of the society and the organization of its territory
  • Making of connections between assets and limitations of the territory and the organization of the society
  • Definition of the influence of people or events on the organization of the society and its territory

To interpret change in a society and its territory

  • Recognition of changes in the geographic and historical contexts of the society
  • Description of changes in social and territorial organization
  • Establishment of causes and effects of changes
  • Definition of the influence of certain people and their interests on some changes
  • Definition of the effects of certain events on some changes
  • Identification of the way in which these changes are evident today
  • Use of pertinent arguments to justify his/her interpretation of change
  • Use of various supporting materials

To be open to the diversity of societies and their territories

  • Indication of similarities and differences in the geographic and historical contexts of societies and their territories
  • Description of similarities and differences in the organization of societies and territories
  • Establishment of causes and effects of differences
  • Establishment of strengths and weaknesses in social and territorial organization
  • Use of pertinent arguments in defence of his/her view of the diversity of societies and their territories
  • Use of various supporting materials

English Language Arts

Uses language/talk to communicate and learn

Establishes a repertoire of resources for communicating and learning in specific contexts

  • Investigates the affordances of spoken language as a mode of communication
  • Examines some of the aesthetic qualities of spoken language
  • Develops rhetorical strategies to achieve specific purposes
  • Examines the affordances of genres
  • Extends the range of strategies for collecting the data needed for use in specific genres

Participates in the social practices of the classroom and community in specific contexts

  • Investigates the uses of spoken language in the school and community
  • Plans and carries out independent units of study
  • Conducts exploratory ethnographic research
  • Organizes and maintains an integrated profile of work over the cycle
  • Engages in a process of self-evaluation and reflection
  • Confers with the teacher in regular and ongoing evaluation conferences

Interacts with peers and teacher in specific contexts

  • Collaborates with peers to construct knowledge about how things are done
  • Participates in collaborative action research groups using an inquiry process
  • Applies procedural and meaningmaking strategies to achieve a purpose
  • Contributes to team efforts as an interactive and critical listener

Reads and listens to written, spoken and media texts

Integrates reading profile, stance and strategies to make sense of a text in a specific context

  • Reads for pleasure and to learn
  • Draws on prior experience and the features of a genre to make sense of a text
  • Adjusts reading strategies and stance to the context
  • Develops research and organizational strategies for working with information

Talks about own response to a text within a classroom community

  • Deepens own meaning(s) of a text in discussions with other readers
  • Situates meanings within own experiences and the world of the text, in order to transform initial readings into more conscious interpretations
  • Considers possible reasons for own responses and the responses of others to clarify and reshape the relationship between self as reader and the text
  • Shares Integrated Profile in teacher-student conferences

Interprets the relationship(s) between reader, text and context in light of own response(s)

  • Explains the impact of a text on self as reader by returning to its social functions, as well as the way meanings and messages are constructed
  • Draws on own reading profile, including knowledge of textual structures and features, to locate textual details that support own interpretations
  • Constructs interpretations that embody both own world and the world of the text

Produces texts for personal and social purposes

Extends repertoire of resources for producing texts

  • Immerses self in texts to learn how they are constructed
  • Investigates the codes and conventions of various genres
  • Creates criteria for what makes text(s) effective
  • Examines the affordances of different modes and genres to make production decisions
  • Uses models of different texts to apply chosen features in own work
  • Applies codes and conventions of written and media language
  • Compares own style in relation to other writers/producers
  • Develops standards for using language responsibly to represent people, events and ideas

Constructs a relationship between writer/producer, text and context

  • Understands that all texts are constructed in specific contexts for specific audiences and purposes
  • Researches as a writer/producer to become more informed, to create authentic contexts and to characterize an audience
  • Assumes various roles in own productions
  • Analyzes the elements of the context and shapes the text accordingly
  • Examines the differences between producing texts for public and private spaces.

Adapts a process to produce texts in specific contexts

  • Participates both individually and collaboratively in different recursive phases of the production process
  • Confers regularly with peers and teacher throughout the production process
  • Uses feedback strategies to improve own productions and support peers
  • Reflects on own development as a writer/producer over time
  • Monitors own learning
  • Cultivates a variety of media and writerly practices
  • Explores a variety of avenues for wider publication

Visual Arts

Creates media images

Uses ideas to create a media production

  • Is open to a stimulus for creation
  • Is receptive to ideas, images, emotions, sensations and impressions evoked by the stimulus
  • Takes into account the characteristics of the target audience
  • Keeps a record of his/her ideas
  • Explores various ways of conveying ideas through images and adapting them to the target audience
  • Chooses ideas and plans a media creation project

Shares his/her experience of media creation

  • Considers his/her creative intention and progress
  • Identifies the important elements of his/her experience and its characteristics
  • Makes comparisons with his/her previous learning
  • Identifies what he/she has learned and the methods used

Uses transforming gestures and elements of media language

  • Experiments with methods of materializing his/her ideas
  • Makes use of his/her memory of transforming gestures and knowledge of media language
  • Chooses the most meaningful gestures and elements for his/her creative intention
  • Develops methods of using these gestures and elements in order to adapt them to the target audience

Structures his/her media production

  • Applies the results of his/her experiments
  • Shapes the material and language elements and organizes them on the basis of the message to be conveyed
  • Validates the media impact of the visual message on a control group
  • Reviews his/her choices of material and language
  • Makes adjustments
  • Refines certain elements, if necessary

Recognizes work accomplished

  • Makes a decision based on the evaluation
  • Carries out the plan
  • Applies own strategy to improve or maintain two lifestyle habits
  • Uses the resources required to carry out the plan
  • Perseveres in carrying out the plan
  • Using appropriate tools, compiles facts about changes to own lifestyle habits